Chapter 12 - Life #3 and preparing for Cape Cod

It was déjà vu all over again as I started the climb back in the newspaper racket


By 1964 I was Advertising Manager of The Thompsonville Press owned by Bill and Barbara Breisky who both followed me to Cape Cod, he as Editor of the Cape Cod Times and she as a hot shot real estate broker. Here I'm mc-ing a Sidewalk Sale for the local Chamber of Commerce.

But this time it was Patricia who was very nearly murdered

Being a "square" wasn't nearly as dull as I had suggested in my poetry. Flatbush was "country" in the 1960s and a short bus ride to the Far Rockaway beaches or Coney Island.

Our landlords, Jesse and Ethel Greenburg, were like grandparents to our new son Todd. Jesse even gave him the first silver dollar he received in America when he arrived many decades earlier.

East 36th Street near Utica Avenue was a Jewish neighborhood with the requisite Chinese restaurant.

According to the Jewish calendar it was 5721 back in 1961, and, according to the Chinese calendar, the year was 5675.

5721 minus 5675 equals 46 years, and Pat and I always wondered what did the Jews eat for those forty-odd years before their Asian chiefs were created.

That Jewish people have an love for Chinese food is no secret - the Jews know it, the Chinese know it, even some goys like us know it, and Flatbush was no exception.

Like our Levantine neighbors we ate out exclusively at the local Chinese joint, and even had one of our biggest family fights over who ate more of one night's Sweet & Sour Chicken, a dish no self-respecting Asian ever poked a chop stick at.

Until the dispersal of middle-class Jews to the New York suburbs was complete in the 1970s and 1980s, Chinese take-out shops opened on every corner of the city. It was said that you could tell how Jewish a neighborhood was by the number of Chinese restaurants.

The New York Post before Murdoch

I commuted to my job at the New York Post by subway, and after establishing myself and joining the Newspaper Guild, I started looking for job offerings in Massachusetts, one which would impress the owner of The Cape Codder weekly newspaper because Pat and I had decided to raise our new family in that peaceful backwater which in 1960 had a population of 80,000, one-third of today's total.

I knew about that weekly because Pat's father Harry Twite subscribed to it off cape. The better local newspaper of that era was The Oracle run by Ed and Mary Smith and his family, but since it was mailed free to locals I didn't know of it's existence until I got my ass handed to me by adveristers when I had to compete against it later.

We vacationed at Pat's parent's camp in Truro where her father had acquired 50 acres which ran from Route 6 to the Atlantic by paying the back taxes on some land his family owned. It was a timber strip about a couple hundred feet wide, and her father Harry was a subscriber to that weekly.

I was determined to get to Cape Cod fast, and The Cape Codder was the only newspaper published here then which was owned by someone who had spent time learning the inky trade off Cape.

Publisher Malcolm Hobbs had always vacationed on The Cape with his first wife Peggy, but he had worked for a small wire service in Washington and Mexico and had bought the paper 15 years before.

Snob that I was, his was the only fish-wrapper good enough for the likes of moi, and I read the trade publication Editor & Publisher searching for a position which another snob like Mal Hobbs would appreciate.

I found one after 18 months. It was as Advertising Manager of the Amherst MA Journal Record owned then by Michael  (Mike) de Sherbinin and his wife Polly.

I got that job, and Pat and I moved to Easthampton MA where Mike had asked me to launch and manage a new weekly for him in that town which we named the Easthampton Record.

We rented an apartment from a nice Polish family whose daughters were built-in baby-sitters and we discovered the joys of linguisa, pirogi and gołąbki.

It was a low-budget operation, and Mike found an editor for me to manage who was currently a patient at a vet's hospital in Northampton suffering for post-traumatic stress from World War II.

The man was in his forties and looked like a lost soul. Mike asked Pat and I to "look after him" since he was still an outpatient from the psychiatric ward at the vet's hospital.

The man's father had been a famous author, and my new editor was an experienced, journeyman reporter who the doctors assured us would benefit from having a reporter's job as he had before his break-down.

He was good at his craft and dependable, and soon we had a decent new weekly up and running with ads which could be sold in combination with Mike's Amherst Record.

Every Wednesday evening after our little newspaper went to press, Pat and I had the editor over to our apartment for dinner.

A quiet man, he was delighted to be a part of a young family's life and often played with our son Todd who was soon joined by a brother we named Jay.


Pat was sweet on Syrian Olympic Basketball player Ayham Omary who we sponsored in a "People to People" exchange in 1964 while in Thompsonville CT.

After a year or so I ran into a young couple named Bill and Barbara Breisky who had just bought a struggling weekly newspaper in the town just over the Connecticut border to the south called The Thompsonville CT Press.

Bill had been cartoon editor at the then famous Saturday Evening Post, and I realized that Bill and Barbara were really go-getters who only lacked my promotional skills to grow fast.

Having already added Amherst and Easthampton to my new resume, I jumped ship and went to work for Bill and Barbara whose newspaper at the time consisted of a linotype machine, a rented office and a half dozen employees.

One of my tasks was to bring the pages to the Springfield Shopping News to be printed at dawn each Thursday.

When I left 18 moths later the newspaper owned it's own building, had a printing press, and I had started two free newspapers for them in the neighboring towns of Suffield and Somers Connecticut.

Another chilling newspaper story of a murder-almost-mine

When I left the new weekly I'd started for the de Sherbinins in Easthampton, I broke in my successor who also had a pretty young wife and new child.

They continued Patricia and my habit of "looking after" the editor by having him over once a week for dinner.

One day I was listening to the radio news on WTIC when I heard the grim story of my successor's wife being murdered by my old editor.

Apparently the editor had come to my successor's apartment a little early that week before he was home, and while the man's wife was making dinner he grabbed a kitchen knife and killed her instantly.

That's the second time someone was murdered in our stead, and there is still (at least) one more coming in a later chapter.

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